A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has concluded that high blood pressure is increasing throughout the world, and is now one of the leading causes of preventable death.
The study was conducted on an international level in which 9 million people had their blood pressure monitored over the course of several years.
According to researchers, there has been a major jump in the number of cases of high blood pressure, particularly between 1990 and 2015.
The current ideal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg, however within the frame of this study, researchers counted elevated systolic blood pressure between 110 and 115, as this is where they say the risk of developing high blood pressure begins.
Blood pressure is measured in two numbers and appears with one number above the other.
The systolic blood pressure is the number which appears at the top of the apparent fraction and it measures the pressure in the arteries as blood is being pumped through them.
Currently, only those with a systolic blood pressure of over 140 are placed on medication, though researchers feel that intervention should begin far before it gets to that point.
They say that this does not necessarily mean medication, but instead that those with high or elevated systolic blood pressure should participate in lifestyle changes such as losing weight, maintaining a healthy BMI and exercising.
Study authors contend that the major reasons for the worldwide increase in systolic blood pressure in both developed and developing countries is the higher instances of obesity and a lesser focus on activity.
The rise in blood pressure may also be explained partially by the fact that the aging population is growing, which can contribute to higher global numbers.
At the moment, the study authors estimate that there are 900 million people who suffer from hypertension.
There are an additional 3.5 billion people who have elevated blood pressure and are at a higher risk for a heart attack or stroke.
The latter group are currently not considered to meet the clinical definition of “high blood pressure.”
According to researchers, more than 50% of people with high blood pressure reside in either the United States, China, India, Indonesia or Russia